The Exorcist Novel 40th Anniversary

The ExorcistI don’t know what’s worse – reading about someone projectile vomiting, or watching someone projectile vomiting. Neither is in my Top 10, and yet millions of dollars have been made with The Exorcist book (1971) and The Exorcist movie (1973), featuring a pre-teen girl spewing green oatmeal all the way to the bank.

Prepare to cough up even more to read about the girl coughing up all over again as the 40th anniversary edition of The Exorcist (Harper) by William Peter Blatty arrives October 4, 2011.

The ExorcistWe all know the story – a young chick gets possessed by the devil, a conflicted young priest and an older “last day on the job” priest try to shout It out loud. In-between stuff includes, head-spinning, lunch-tossing, bed-floating, and crucifix-polishing. And let us not minimize the colorful use of four-letter words.

What makes the 40th anniversary Exorcist novel more than a cash-in, is that Blatty is putting out the “author’s cut” version, and not the one we read and peed our pants to all those years ago. Here’s what he and his publisher has to say in an exclusive interview given only to me (OK, not really – I just cut and pasted from the press release. I just wanted everyone to think I’m a big shot): “William Peter Blatty has returned to the manuscript, reworking portions of the book that never satisfied him. Due to financial constraints and a pressing workload at the time, he was forced to forego a desired revision.”

The Exorcist“For most of these past forty years I have rued not having done a thorough second draft and careful polish of the dialogue and prose,” Blatty says. “But now, like an answer to a prayer, this fortieth anniversary edition has given me not only the opportunity to do that second draft, but to do it at a time in my life – I am 83 – when it might not be totally unreasonable to hope that my abilities, such as they are, have at least somewhat improved, and for all of this I say, Deo gratias!” (I don’t know what Deo gratias means. Given the subject matter, it’s probably, “Hey Devil – get off my f’n lawn.”)

The interview, uh, press release goes on to mention that “among the changes, Blatty has added a chilling scene introducing the unsettling minor character of a Jesuit psychiatrist.” I bet he burps up recycled breakfast cereal, too.

You can buy the “unabashedly profane and terrifying” book for only $25.99 (although Amazon.com has it for $16.62.) Yes, you can watch the book on Netflix™ for next to nothing. But reading it will give your eyeballs something to do not related to internet porn.

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